Techniques Photoshop Blending Options


Ever wished for a visual "cheat sheet" of blending options and their effects in Photoshop?

Wanna save the time of having to click through all the effects to find the right combination? Look no further! At the end of this post, you can download a handy PDF of these images that will show you an at-a-glance reference of blending options and their effects.



For the sake of this example we'll be using to different images to clearly illustrate the blending options!


Image 1: A simple tree!



Image 2: A Hot Air Balloon.


One by one, we will go through each blending option. Without moving the images or changing the placement. Some results may be hideous, but the purpose of this exercise is to provide you with a visual example of each of the blending options located in this palette.


Blending Options


Darken: Darkens the areas that overlap.



Multiply: Combines the hues of the overlapping images.




Color Burn: Accentuates the brighter areas of the photos.

Color Burn


Linear Burn: Accentuates and darkens the lighter areas.


Darker Color: Shows the darkest common color in both images.

Darker Color


Lighten: Overlaying parts of the images are lightened and washed-out.


Screen: Similar to the "Lighten" mode, but creates a brighter sheen.



Color Dodge: Still brighter than the "Screen" mode.

Color Dodge


Lindear Dodge: Washed out further.

Linear Dodge


Lighter Color: Removes the darker images within the composition.

Lighter Color


Overlay: The top image is lightly displayed over the image.



Soft Light: Similar to the "Overlay" mode except lighter.

Soft Light


Hard Light: Shows the drastic difference between the top layer images.

Hard Light


Vivid LIght: Colors are show in their brightest hues.

Vivid Light


Linear Light: Brighter lights colors on the top layer.

Linear Light


Pin Light: Removes and combines similiar colors between the layers.

Pin Light



Hard Mix: Colors are combined and then exagerated.

Hard Mix



Difference: Great for creating mystifying night scenes.



Exclusion: The inverse of the difference mode.



Hue: Breaks the composition down into basic colors.



Saturation: Determines the vividness of the composition's colors.



Color: Changes color below the top image to reflect the image's hues.



Luminosity: Creates a dark, yet vibrant color layer on the bottom image.



If you want a downloadable copy of this cheat sheet, click here.


So how realistic are these blending options? Well, here's a recent project I did for an upcoming book that will be released in January. You may notice the iStockWatermarks on this copy as I haven't yet converted this to finished product with the purchased images. However, in this piece alone, I have 10 images and I have utilized a variety of blending options in the piece.


Effusion Cover

Check Out Our Ventures


Collipsis Web Solutions